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6 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt

A summary of strategies.


We've all been there - staring at a piece of sheet music, our fingers hovering over the strings, the doubt creeping in, whispering that we're not good enough. Musical self-doubt is a common hurdle many musicians face on their journey, but it doesn't define us.

Let's explore how to overcome that nagging voice of uncertainty.

Recognizing the Source of Doubt

Harpist in contemplation

Before we tackle self-doubt head-on, it's crucial to understand where these feelings stem from. Aspiring to be a professional musician, a renowned harpist, or a respected music teacher comes with immense pressure. The fear of not meeting expectations, making mistakes, or being judged can cast shadows of doubt over our abilities. Accept that these doubts are normal, but they don't have to control your narrative.

Cultivate Self-Compassion

Instead of being your harshest critic, strive to become your most compassionate mentor. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, just like you would with a beloved student or a friend. Remember, every mistake is a stepping stone towards improvement, every missed note an opportunity to learn. Embrace your imperfections, music is not meant to be perfect. Its been to be enjoyed.

Seek Guidance and Support

Supportive music teacher and student

Professional musicians and music teachers didn't reach mastery on their own. Don't hesitate to lean on the expertise of others. Reach out to a Coach, a fellow musician, or a teacher who can offer guidance and wisdom. Their insights and encouragement can help you navigate the rough patches and realign your focus on the joy of music-making. Push through intimidation, remind yourself that every musician has been where you are, and seek the help you need.

Set Realistic Goals

Ambition is fantastic, but it should never overshadow the importance of setting achievable goals. Break down your musical aspirations into smaller, more manageable milestones. Celebrate each accomplishment along the way, no matter how small. This sense of progress will fuel your confidence and remind you of your incredible journey.

Embrace a Growth Mindset (I know for the 100th time)

Instead of viewing mistakes as failures, see them as opportunities for growth. Embrace the philosophy of a growth mindset—that talents can be developed through dedication and hard work. Every practice session and performance is a chance to evolve and refine your skills. Be open to feedback and learn from critiques. Build positive self-talk habits—what you say to yourself before and after you play music matters.

Nurture Your Passion

Serenity in music

Above all, nurture your love for music. Remember why you started this journey in the first place: the exhilaration of performing, the joy of imparting knowledge to eager students, the gratification of building a skill, the joy of bringing music to people suffering, or just the simple love of making music. Let your passion be the guiding light that illuminates the shadows of doubt. Remember, your why can change and evolve. The important thing is to have a why.

Self-doubt may be an unwelcome visitor, but it doesn't have to be a permanent resident.. With patience, self-compassion, and a growth mindset, you can transform doubt into determination. Seek support when needed to help you meet your goals, tune out the self-doubt and thrive.

Candace- The happy Musician Coach


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